6th Circ. Tosses $19 Trillion Google Lawsuit

     (CN) — The Sixth Circuit dismissed a $19 trillion lawsuit against Google brought by a man distressed because a search of his name appeared to link him to a child indecency case.
     “Colin O’Kroley Googled himself and did not like the results,” Judge Jeffrey Sutton began the Sixth Circuit’s unanimous opinion.
     A Google search of O’Kroley’s name found an entry on a website “Texas Advance Sheet,” which summarizes judgments out of Texas, and showed a preview of the entry that read “indecency with a child in trial court cause n…Colin O’Korley v. Pringle.”
     If the searcher opened the website, he or she would see that O’Kroley was not involved in a child indecency case. His case was listed immediately after a child indecency case on the website, and was in no way related.
     But O’Kroley, who represented himself, claimed he suffered “severe mental anguish” from the listing, and sued Google and other entities for $19 trillion.
     A federal judge rejected his claims, which included libel, violation of the Communications Decency Act, invasion of privacy, cruel and unusual punishment and cyber-bullying, among others.
     The Sixth Circuit affirmed Friday.
     “All of O’Kroley’s claims treat Google as the publisher or speaker of the allegedly defamatory content on its website, even though a separate ‘entity [was] responsible . . . for the [content’s] creation,'” Sutton said. “Under the [Communications Decency] Act, Google thus cannot be held liable for these claims — for merely providing access to, and reproducing, the allegedly defamatory text.”
     However, the court said that its rejection of his claims was not a total loss for O’Kroley.
     “He didn’t win. He didn’t collect a dime. And the search result about ‘indecency with a child’ remains publicly available. All is not lost, however,” Sutton said.
     Since O’Kroley filed his lawsuit, the Google entry that caused him such distress is no longer the first hit.
     “Now the top hits all involve this case (there is even a Wikipedia entry on it). So: Even assuming two premises of this lawsuit are true — that there are Internet users other than Colin O’Kroley searching ‘Colin O’Kroley’ and that they look only at the Google previews rather than clicking on and exploring the links — it’s not likely that anyone will ever see the offending listing at the root of this lawsuit. Each age has its own form of self-help,” Sutton wrote for the three-judge panel.

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